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Man held in Haryana for ‘objectionable’ video on Somnath temple

According to the police, in the video that was made in 2019 and went viral Tuesday, the accused, Irshad Rashid, a cleric from Haryana, can be seen holding a phone in selfie mode while walking on the beach in Gir Somnath.

By: Express News Service | Ahmedabad |
Updated: March 17, 2021 6:53:43 pm
Rashid is purportedly heard narrating the history of plunder of the temple by Turkish ruler Mahmud Ghaznavi and the arrival of Muhammad Bin Qasim, the commander of Ummayad Caliphate, on Gujarat coast. (Express Archive)

A cleric from Haryana’s Panipat was nabbed by a team of the Gir Somnath police on Wednesday for allegedly “promoting enmity between different groups and insulting religious feelings” after a video of the man, where he is purportedly heard referring to the plunder of Somnath temple as a “good work”, went viral on social media.

According to the police, in the video that was made in 2019 and went viral Tuesday, the accused, Irshad Rashid, a cleric from Haryana, can be seen holding a phone in selfie mode while walking on the beach in Gir Somnath. Rashid is purportedly heard narrating the history of plunder of the temple by Turkish ruler Mahmud Ghaznavi and the arrival of Muhammad Bin Qasim, the commander of Ummayad Caliphate, on Gujarat coast.

An FIR was lodged at Prabhas Patan police station after Vijaysinh Chavda, the general manager of the Somnath temple’s trust, submitted a complaint to the police on March 15 against Rashid for making “objectionable comments against a religion”, police said.

“Today, a video went viral on social media where a Muslim person wearing a white kurta, white cap and sporting a beard is seen describing the history of the temple and its plundering by Mahmud Ghaznavi and Muhammad Bin Qasim, referring to it as good work. He also used objectionable words that can cause friction between two faiths,” Chavda stated in his complaint.

After the FIR was lodged, a team traced the accused through a YouTube account, which first uploaded the video this week, a police officer at Prabhas Patan police station said. “Using technical analysis, Rashid’s location was traced to Panipat in Haryana and he has been detained there. As per procedure, he will be brought to Gir Somnath on transit remand,” the officer added.

The accused has been booked under Indian Penal Code sections 153A for promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion and 295A for deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs.

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